Exploring Singapore: The weird joy of long walks in Orchard Road

I don’t know know how I developed my love for long distance walking. But I remember ditching the school bus a decade back to walk the chalky way to our high school which sits outside of our subdivision. I didn’t really mind that at all! It served as my escape from this world โ€“ free of distractions, and quiet time alone for myself.

Fast forward to one morning waking up in Bukit Timah in Singapore, I checked my phone’s health stats. Steps? 19,144. Walking + running distance? 12.6KM. Flights climbed? 29 floors. That was because the day before that, I explored the retail heart of Singapore, the Orchard Road.


What is Orchard Road and what is there to see?

Orchard Road is a major 2.2 kilometer long road located in the central area of Singapore. The place is an eye-candy from whatever angle you look at. It is the country’s shopping district. Big malls over ground and underground are scattered on both sides of the street. Since it is Asia’s 9th most expensive high street, it is only ordinary to see famous designer brands such as Gucci, Prada, Salvatore Ferragamo, Stella McCartney, Fendi, Balmain, Givenchy and many more. Which is clearly a total retail haven for crazy rich Asians.


Singapore’s Transportation System

It is indeed easier to take pleasure in appreciating a city when you can conveniently get around it. And your Singapore right here is doing an extremely good job for building a superb transit system! It is with an impressive honor to tell you that as far as my research is a concern, I will say that Singapore has the highest passenger satisfaction in the world.

With just an EZ link card, which is relatively cheap by the way, it can take your wandering feet to wherever you well damn please. From Changi Airport, which is hands down the best airport we ever have, you can access all of Singapore.

You say ice-cream at Gardens by the bay? Sure. Wanna go to Sentosa for no reason at all? Let’s go. Afternoon walk along Merlion? Why not. And how about a cocktail on our flipflops at Siloso Beach? Always.


The Joys of Walking in Long Distances

You will be surprised if I tell you that I can totally write a whole self-help book talking about my love for moving from one place to another by just using my feet. But I won’t do that because apart from being sensitive to getting a writer’s block, I am hella lazy and you will just get bored of me.

Truth is, if our car broke down in the middle of God knows where and the only reason for us to get some help is to walk 10 miles, then I’ll be totally down for it. Although you may expect a slightly condescending attitude if it’s raining or worse, under the blistering sun. But aside from that, I won’t complain and we’re good.

Because you will get something in it when you start walking the first few steps going to a faraway destination. When the wind blows through your hair, there’s actually a science in there of why you do your best thinking while walking. The partnership of your wandering feet and your productive brain is just so powerful.


Wandering around Orchard Road

As an obsessive walker that I am, I got lost in the long stretch of Orchard Road a few times more than I expected myself.

Although I am not much of a city boy (more like an island boy, if you consider that) for me, it is a boulevard where dreams are made of.

It is somehow amazing to walk around and seeing designer clothes through the glasses of golden frames. And even if I am not the kind of person who will save up for a couple of Gucci shirt, I enjoyed watching them from outside of their store.

When you’re outside, your eyes will pop up from here and there because there are plenty of things to see. You see, Singapore is a combination of superb infrastructures and a big zen garden. One of the cleanest countries in the world and I love that it has wide sidewalks because their people love walking and that I get to walk on it because I am one of them too.


CONCLUSION

Long walks are as therapeutic as waking up early, grabbing a short drip and a freshly baked bagel, stand in front of Tiffany & Co and stream Henry Mancini’s Moon River on Spotify. Try the ice-cream sandwich too because it’s absolutely the bomb.


And that’s a one hell of a breakfast at Tiffany’s with Holly Golightly going back 1961.

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  1. Eduardo Maresca

    Ang isang Pilipino na sanay sa long distance walking: ito ay ang isang himala! Sa barangay ng misis ko ang mga tao ay sumasakay ng tricycle para makarating sa palengke na 500 mt ang layo

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  2. Eduardo Maresca

    I must also admit that, apart from the Bulaquenyo who live sa bayan and are not used to walking more than 50 meters, there are those who live in the Sierra Madre Mountains who do actually trek long distances. Unfortunately my wife’s family is from an area where people have grown up flagging down tricycles to go everywhere

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      Marron Santillan

      Ah the convenience of riding tricyles! I love it because it’s like a local taxi to small towns and villages. I’ve also watched families who live on top of the mountains and their children walking long distances everyday to go to school.

      I also know a story (I learned this from Starbucks) about Haile Gebreselassie, a 2-time Olympic gold medalist from Ethiopa. He now owns a coffee farm. He was born from a poor family and he basically got good at running because he used to run 10KM going to school and 10KM going back home! Such an inspiration. I will always love that story! Share ko lang, Tito. Hehe!

      1. Eduardo Maresca

        In the Sierra Madre Mountains there are kids who walk long miles in the mud to go to school. Life in the baryo and life in the mountains differ like night and day. Unfortunately the Filipino who move to my country are the “tamad” ones from the baryos na hindi sanay na maglakad

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          Marron Santillan

          Long walkings through the mud and crossing rivers for little kids for education in pursuit of a better future. God bless those kids! I guess people that are okay with long walks are destined to go a long way!

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            Marron Santillan

            My family won’t do that haha! They consider themselves of a ‘tourist’ while I see myself as a ‘traveller’ so I don’t really like our vacations because I’m not the type of kid who enjoys the comfort of being treated well in a hotel. I’d rather set up a tent myself in the woods and listen to The Beatles!

  3. Timothy

    I walked LD a lot because of coronavirus countermeasures and gyms being closed. I found a new love. As I child it was a drag :P.

    Also I loved my 77 hour say in Singapore in 2018.

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  4. Monch Weller

    I definitely miss this place! Taka, Shaw House, Lucky Plaza, Wisma, sarap mamili! (And while you’re there, trying out the ice cream sandwich from the ambulant ah kongs there.)

    Did you find the Four Floors during your walk?

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      Marron Santillan

      Love the ice-cream sandwich! And Four Floors, I think I did? I heard stories about it from my friends who live in Singapore but I’m not sure if it’s what it says it is!

  5. Kally

    Ah.. you missed out exploring the indie side of Orchard Road. There are many great awesome food in the smaller lanes and great bargains over at Far East Plaza.

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      Marron Santillan

      I saw Emerald Hill Road! I love how picturesque that place is with its classic Chinese baroque design. Too bad that I wasn’t able to take photos. I wish I knew those awesome food on the smaller lanes as well! I guess I will save it for next time. Thank you!

      1. Kally

        Awesome that you didn’t miss Emerald Hill road. If you go a little deeper, you’ll find indie japanese ramen stall and chinese local cusines.

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  6. ReflectionSeed

    Will love to visit your country and city! About walking, since my early teens, I have been a distance walker. Twice I walked to another city, taking me about 20 hours each. In recent years, I walk about 15 Mls four times a week. Walking is a spiritual experience for me. except now, Covid thing. Thank you for your story!

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      Marron Santillan

      I’m actually from the Philippines, but yes, Singapore a perfect place for long walks in the city! You’re correct that walking is a spiritual experience. I also am fond of long-distance running, I love the things that I discover within myself during those long runs. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

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